A northern storm that blew into the region last weekend will stick around for the remainder of the week, albeit with less snow and more cold air, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
Red Mountain Pass will be closed intermittently until about 10 a.m. Tuesday for avalanche blasting, according to Colorado Department of Transportation. At least one slide had been triggered on the north side of the summit, the agency reported Tuesday morning.
The storm caused whiteout conditions around 9 p.m. Monday near Mancos Hill, where roads appeared snowpacked, according to CDOT traffic cameras.
Four snowplows were working the stretch of road from Hesperus Hill past Mancos, said Lisa Schwantes, spokeswoman with the CDOT.
“They are anticipating working through the night,” Schwantes said. “We will be using a combination of sand and salt on the road, and they will definitely be monitoring the road condition and the temperature, and if it does get icy, they’ll start using a liquid deicer.”
Periodic snowfall created whiteout-like conditions Monday in Durango, but only about an inch of snow accumulated in town, if that. Parts of the San Juan Mountains received up to 2 feet of snow as of Monday and another 5-10 inches were expected Monday night.
Snowplow drivers reported snowpacked conditions Monday afternoon on Coal Bank and Molas passes, between Durango and Silverton on U.S. Highway 550. The passes received 16 inches of snow as of Monday afternoon and were expected to receive another 10 inches Monday night, she said.
A sudden snowstorm that materialized about 2:30 p.m. Monday hammered a section of U.S. Highway 160 west of Durango, creating snowpacked conditions, she said.
The storm is part of a larger one that moved into the region Saturday night and is expected to bring cooler temperatures, ranging from a low of 11 degrees Tuesday night to a high of 36 degrees Saturday.
Another storm is expected to arrive Thursday night, “but it’s not looking too impressive” as far as snow accumulation, said Matt Aleksa, a general forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“At this time, we don’t expect that system on Thursday into Friday to have any significant impacts for your area,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to remain cool until Sunday or Monday, when a high-pressure zone builds over the West, bringing a southwesterly flow.
“But when I say that, we’re only going so far as highs near 40 on Sunday for Durango and maybe low 40s by Monday,” Aleksa said. “Winter is coming.”